Skiffie Worlds 2016
Welcome Skiffies to Strangford Lough!
Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership, Scottish Coastal Rowing Association, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Ards and North Down Borough Council welcome communities from all over the world to Strangford Lough from 24 -30 July 2016, for the world community, coastal rowing championships Skiffie Worlds 2016
Teams and Boats
Canada, England, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Tasmania, USA, Wales will all be here with teams and followers bringing a truly international flavour to the six day rowing event featuring 22ft, traditionally styled, wooden St Ayles skiffs, rowed by teams of four people plus cox.
All of the St Ayles’ skiffs have been built within their communities, thanks to a system that allows even non specialist boat builders to produce a high specification, traditionally styled wooden, racing boat.
Each boat has its own colours and names that are evocative of their home-places. The building of them brought people together from all walks of life and of all ages. They symbolise the bonds that have been forged between people within communities and now through competition the shared maritime heritage that binds coastal people the world over.
County Down has become a centre for coastal rowing with seven clubs already established long the coast, from Donaghadee to Dundrum, and others being set up. Find out how hundreds of people rose to the challenge to build seven boats in less than a year at www.downcoastalrowing.org and download the Narrows Challenges leaflet.
These local teams will also be giving a tremendous welcome to the coastal communities from around the globe, sharing a love of maritime culture and the great outdoors.
The Course and the Races
The championship course lies just off Delamont Country Park , at the mouth of the Quoile Estuary, and the Park's lovely, drumlin hills will provide perfect viewing for the thousands of people who will come to see this colourful show and join in the fun of the friendly but fierce competition, over six days from Monday 25 July to Saturday 30 July.
The course runs approximately parallel to the shore and the Quoile Estuary is the most sheltered part of the Lough, which has prevailing south westerly winds.
The multi-lane race course is about 1km x 300m. It runs straight with a turning point at the northern end. The location was chosen to offer the fairest course possible across all states of the tide. The intention is to run heats with fewer boats across the lowest tide but most races will accommodate 11-15 lanes.
On Sunday 24 July many of the boats will launch from Portaferry and Strangford at the mouth of the Lough, called the Narrows, and will be rowed to Delamont where they will stay and compete until the grand finale on Saturday the 30th.
On the evening of Saturday 30th July the boats will return to the Narrows in a splendid row-in-company, for the closing ceremony and the 2016 Strangford Lough Festival with music and craic in both Strangford and Portaferry.
A Provisional Race Schedule can be viewed below.
Race Categories: Under 17, Under 19, Open A , Open B, 40+, 50+, 60+. All categories are open to Male, Female & Mixed Teams
Getting here and Accommodation:
Provisional Race Schedule
Programme of Events
Skiffie Worlds and the Strangford Lough Festival is a showcase for our maritime heritage from boat building and rowing to marine life and lovely coastal villages. 2016 is also Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink and there will be plenty of local fare to sample.
Skiffie Worlds and the Strangford Lough Festival Highlights
Sail the Tall Ship Johanna Lucretia in and around the Lough (advance booking essential)
Sun 24 July
Skiff Launch at Portaferry and Strangford and Skiffie Worlds Welcome Event at Delamont Country Park
World Championship races at Delamont Country Park
Park walks, steam train rides, huge playground, face-painting etc. at Delamont Country Park throughout the week, come and enjoy the atmosphere in the Race Village.
Music and craic in villages around the Lough throughout the week
Artisan Food Fair in The Walled garden at Delamont Country Park
Men’s and Women’s Open Rowing finals at Delamont
Skiffie Worlds Closing Ceremony and Strangford Lough Festival
50 skiffs row-in-company, accompanied by the Johanna Lucretia tall ship, and canoes and yachts from Delamont , through the Narrows, to Portaferry and Strangford, for the closing ceremony and street party
Open Day and Marine Discovery for all the family at Queens University Marine Lab
Castle tours, shore walks, open air music, food stalls etc
Skiffie Prize presentations
See also www.visitstrangfordlough.co.uk for more info on the area and events.
We in Strangford Lough are delighted to have been selected by the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association as the venue for Skiffie Worlds 2016. They tell us it was because of our great enthusiasm for the St Ayles’ Skiff, the boating infrastructure and the Lough’s sheltered marine waters. However, we suspect the Guinness and the craic may also have played a part!
Picturesque Strangford Lough certainly has a long maritime history of boatbuilding, sailing and rowing and is home to ten, long established sailing clubs.
More recently it has become the epicentre of St Ayles’ Skiff building and rowing in Northern Ireland. In a whirlwind of activity, seven St Ayles’ Skiffs were built by communities along the County Down Coast, from Donaghadee to Dundrum, in 2014, supported by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) and the Police Service Northern Ireland. These communities have now established their own coastal rowing clubs and teams. Three more are in production and a further two kits have been purchased. The rivalry and the fun are infectious!
Strangford Lough is within the Strangford and Lecale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has many lovely villages and a fantastic varied coast to enjoy.